Paul Maurice was having absolutely no criticism of his captain, Blake Wheeler.
Today reporters were pointing out that Wheeler has been on the ice for the most 5 on 5 goals against the Jets this season. Maurice just sat there for a second perplexed before starting to respond.
Maurice: “He’s got 11 f–king points in 10 games!”
“I’d just like you to be right about it,” he began. “You’ll do your deep dives in analytics and God they do a horseshit job of telling you what 5 guys did on the ice.”
Maurice then really got in to it and defended Wheeler on the goal in question. “The goal you’re beaking on him last night, he got put into a real tough spot by a horseshit back check by someone else.”
“I’ve been in awe of this guy since I got here – he’s unimpeachable on his work level and his character,” the Jets head coach continued to defend Wheeler. “He’s got 11 f–king points in 10 games!”
“I’m not so much protective of Blake Wheeler, I’m more protective of the Winnipeg Jets,” Maurice added, undoubtedly due to the team’s struggles to bring in or keep top talent. “You get a guy in your town who plays that hard, and is such a fine leader – let’s be real careful.”
“We’re 10 games in, we’re 6-3-1 and you’re beaking my captain and I’m offended by it,” he concluded.
Blake Wheeler is having a good season
This season, Wheeler is a -9 and that seems to be the cause for consternation among reporters. “I know you guys love to focus on me,” Wheeler said when questioned if he may be injured. The Jets captain wanted it understood that there’s a lot of positives with the Jets and if he’s in the lineup to assume he’s healthy.
Wheeler has 3 goals and 8 assists this season and considered one of the Jets best players. When asked about why he only played a little over 13 minutes in the last game, he talked about the Jets deep lineup and how things were going in the game.
He closed out comments on his ice time with a simple, “it’s the exception, not the rule.”
Wheeler is going to be just fine.